females leading the way with 14 of Canada's 19 Olympic medals
February 23, 2006
By STEVE SIMMONS, TORONTO SUN
TURIN -- We interrupt the dissection of Canadian hockey for this
unpaid, non-political announcement. Canadian women are kicking ass
at the Winter Olympics.
It is important to know this in the wake of the crushing demise
of Canada's favourite millionaires.
It is important to appreciate the magic that has been accomplished
at the XX Olympic Games.
Canada has won a record 19 medals at the Winter Games, a record
14 of them coming from women, and contrary to popular belief, not
every one of them has been won by speed skater Cindy Klassen, although
she has won a lot.
Women have won on skates, in the hockey rink, at the oval, on the
short track. Women have won on the skis, on snowboards, going downhill
on something called a skeleton. Women have got up from crashing
into fences and recovered from broken ski poles to win Olympics.
So much for the alleged fairer sex.
Canada has won five gold medals here: Four of them in women's sports.
Canada has won an impressive eight silver medals: Five of them
Canada has six bronze medals to date: Five from female athletes,
one of them yesterday by a curling rink from Calgary.
"I don't think we ever look at things from a male-female perspective,
but it's pretty obvious our women have done some amazing things
here," said Shane Pearsall, the chef de mission of the Canadian
Being expected to win, the way Klassen and Jennifer Heil, the first
gold-medal winner, have is one kind of difficulty. Winning when
you come from nowhere, or Camrose, Alta., whichever comes first,
the way Chandra Crawford did at cross country on Wednesday, is the
essence of the Olympic dream.
'I WANTED TO BE LIKE HER'
"If I can inspire one kid with what I've accomplished to become
an athlete, to love sport, to participate in sport, then I've done
something important," said Crawford, 22, who was on no one's
radar before winning gold. "I was in awe of Myriam Bedard when
she won her golds in biathlon (in 1994). I was 10 years old. I wanted
to be like her."
Maybe some day, someone will win an Olympic medal saying they were
inspired by Crawford's story.
The men's hockey team, obviously, was expected to win a medal here.
It did not.
There was hope speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon would win a medal
here. He did not.
There was a belief snowboarder Jasey-Jay Anderson would be close
to the podium. He was not.
Yesterday, two male aerials skiers had podium hopes. Neither Kyle
Nissen or Warren Shouldice -- eight-time medal winners on the World
Cup circuit -- got medals.
"I don't think you can look at this as just a man-woman thing,"
Pearsall said. "You take someone like Chandra. We were talking
about her winning in 2010. She just arrived four years early. You
have to celebrate that."
Some men, like the bobsled team of Pierre Lueders and Lascelles
Brown, or the skeleton one-two connection of Duff Gibson and Jeffrey
Pain, performed as advertised as did figure skater Jeffrey Buttle,
who won bronze.
And late this morning, the Brad Gushue rink will play for gold
in men's curling: Canada is assured its 20th medal and its sixth
But do the math on that and 70% of the Canadian Olympic medals
have been won here by women. Four years ago, Canada won 17 medals
at Salt Lake City. Nine of them were won by women, seven by men,
one by the pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.
"I think there has been a real mentality shift in Canadian
sport and we're seeing that at the Olympics," Pearsall said.
"We're of the belief we can compete and we can win. I think
that has really shown in the women's programs.
"Beckie Scott showed people you can win at cross-country and
look what has followed. Catriona (Le May Doan) showed you can win
at speed skating, look what followed. I think this is great for
our nation, if we can get more women in sport.
"And don't forget, we've had 10 fourth-place finishes. You
know how close that is to the podium? That tells me we're heading
in the right direction with our programs. I get a sense we're feeling
strong about ourselves and the women are leading the way."